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May 16, 2009

 

Rough start for Dragons

MONTCLAIR, N.J. — The tough task of winning a national softball title just become harder for SUNY Cortland.
Casey Sullivan’s RBI single broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the fifth inning and Tufts University went on to defeat the Red Dragons 3-1 in the opening round of the NCAA Division III World Series being held at Montclair State University.
In this double-elimination tournament, Cortland (44-8) will now have to run the table to take the title starting with this afternoon’s 1:30 p.m. elimination contest against Salisbury from Maryland.
Tufts (43-1), ranked seventh nationally in Division III will face Coe College out of Iowa later today at 6:30 p.m.
Izzie Santone earned the victory for winning Jumbos, allowing seven hits and one unearned run in seven innings. She struck out two and did not walk a batter to improve to 20-1 on the season. Junior Katie Finch took the mound loss for Cortland and is 26-6 on the season.
“Obviously, it’s a tough loss,” said Cortland head coach Julie Lenhart following the game. “We didn’t come here to lose, and I just felt like Tufts came in and got on a roll right away in the first inning and we were a little shaky at the start.
“I was telling the team at the end that good teams find a way to win and good teams make their own luck, and I don’t think we really did either of those today. But, we’re not finished. We’re not going to quit. We’re going to come back and take care of business,” she added.
Tufts scored in the top of the first when Laura Chapman led off with a double and Samantha Kuhler reached on a bunt single. An error on the bunt single allowed Chapman to score.
Cortland tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. Emily Ringen singled with one out and pinch runner Lexi Deming went to second on a passed ball. A Sammi Dieffenbach single moved to Deming to third and the run scored on a Jessica Harman groundout to the pitcher.
In the fifth, Cara Hovhanessian led off with a single for Tufts and pinch runner Alison Drobiarz took second on a wild pitch. With one out, Roni Herbst doubled down the left field line, although Drobiarz had to hold at third. Sullivan then singled to left to drive in the go-ahead run.
The Jumbos added an insurance run in the sixth when Maya Ripecky singled with two outs, stole second and scored on a Hovhanessian double to deep left field.
Cortland mounted a rally in the seventh. Pinch hitter Lyndsay Rowell reached on a one-out infield single. Bethany Williamson re-entered for Rowell, moved to second on a groundout and went to third on a Rose Morrison infield single.
Santone got the next batter to ground out to third, however, to end the game. Cortland stranded five runners in the game, three on third base.
Hovhanessian finished 2-for-3 and Chapman was 2-for-4 for Tufts. Ringen, playing in the shadows of her hometown of Pompton Plains, N.J., went 2-for-3 with a double for the Red Dragons.
Dragon Tales: Sophomore second baseman Donnalyn Cross was named a Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III First Team All-American and junior pitcher Katie Finch was named a third team All-American at a pre-World Series banquet Thursday night. Finch earned All-America honors for the second straight season. She was a third team selection last year.

Tufts 3, Cortland 1
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By innings: R H E
Tufts University 100 011 0 — 3 8 0
SUNY Cortland 000 100 0 — 1 7 1
Tufts- Izzie Santone (W, 20-1) and Cara Hovhanessian. Cortland- Katie Finch (L, 26-6) and Katie Fusco
2bh- Emily Ringen (C), Laura Chapman (T), Cara Hovhanessian (T), Roni Herbst (T)